Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Jeff Samardzija is coming off a strong start but is 2-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 17 career appearances against Washington. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

For Wednesday's slate, the Rockies and Padres take a breather, and the Mets and Phillies start things off at 1:05 p.m. EDT.

Struggling starting pitchers like the Dodgers' Walker Buehler (home versus Reds) and other highly rostered arms have promising matchups, so that limits the streamer crop a bit, but you should start with these three (or, if the Rays are kind to us before early Wednesday, four).


Pitchers to stream

Trevor Williams (R), 41.8 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers: I was a doubter coming into the 2019 season -- after his ridiculous 3.11 ERA in 2018 was backed by a mere 6.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 -- but the new Kyle Hendricks continues proving me wrong. Williams has a penchant for forcing weak contact, but he's spinning a 10.0 swinging-strike rate and a whopping 67.1 first-strike percentage -- two improved traits that if sustained would help his finesse-focused, zone-pounding approach. Nicholas Castellanos' toe injury could keep him out for this one, as well, but even if he plays, Williams should still tame a lineup that ranks 28th in wOBA versus righties so far (.263).

Jake Odorizzi (R), 8.2 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays: The glutton for punishment I am, I'll recommend Odorizzi for a third time this season. I'll side with the potential for K's (11.9 on the year) and hope he corrects his exacerbated walk rate (7.2 per nine). Toronto has limped against righty arms so far, their .289 wOBA in that split ranking 23rd.

Jeremy Hellickson (R), 1.2 percent, Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants: Feeling brave this early in the season? Anyone matching up with the Giants at least deserves consideration. Hellickson's 93.0 LOB% is fueling his 2.25 ERA through two appearances; his skills are not worth buying for the long term with much confidence. But facing San Francisco's inept lineup is one of the few times his name should pop up with a modicum of excitement.

Pitchers to avoid

Zack Wheeler (R), 89.7 percent, New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies: Following his rough two-start stretch to start 2019, Wheeler churned a quality start with eight strikeouts Friday, thanks to slowing down his delivery closer to last year's pace. He was rushing. Even with that turnaround, don't run to throw him back into your lineup for every outing. This deep, lethal Phillies lineup, posting a robust .340 wOBA and .358 OBP versus righties so far, will prove to be a tough test -- especially in homer-boosting Citizens Bank Park. He'll be worth buying from a frustrated owner if this forecast comes true.

J.A. Happ (R), 77.8 percent, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: Happ's 2.92 HR/9, lack of run support from an injury-riddled lineup, and home assignment at big-fly-friendly Yankee Stadium should spell disaster against the Red Sox, who've posted a 0.50 BB/K versus lefties so far despite other woes. Though I think better days are ahead beyond this outing, the fact he was heavily rostered enough to qualify for this section surprised me.


If the Rays confirm Yonny Chirinos (23.9 percent) as either the bulk reliever or full-fledged starter, roll with him against the Orioles.

Meanwhile, in the world of closers, Raisel Iglesias took a "BS, L" Tuesday, allowing a Joc Pederson walkoff two-run homer. Cincinnati continues using a closer committee that could include all of David Hernandez, Amir Garrett and Jared Hughes -- and perhaps eventually the resurgent Robert Stephenson. Iglesias is probably the first choice, as seen in his Tuesday failure, but the gap between him and the others remains small, as he might be used in earlier situations.

Of course, he'll need to cure that 2.70 HR/9 before helping with actual fantasy numbers, too.

Projected game scores



Josh Phegley (R), 27.9 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros (LHP Wade Miley): Phegley has recently emerged from the sewage basin that is the low-end catcher pool, seizing nearly full-time duties. A serviceable 41.9 percent of the 31-year-old's contact has hit the sweet spot, per Statcast, which shows his swing path is working -- notably against lefties in a small opening-season sample of 5-for-11 versus lefties.

First base

Justin Bour (L), 6.4 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Lance Lynn): Bour has not made much hard contact so far (3.8 barrels per plate appearance), but his lone homer of 2019 sailed into the left-field bleachers -- a perk that left-handed Halos hitters should be enjoyable more frequently after the club lowered the homer line last offseason -- off a righty hurler -- the possibility of which being the chief reason we slide Bour into our lineups. Lynn's 4.82 ERA masks a quietly solid season (3.14 FIP, 9.16 K/9), but citing the .366 wOBA he allowed to lefty batters last year holds more credit at the moment.

Second base

Jason Kipnis (L), 7.2 percent, Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners (RHP Erik Swanson): The veteran returned Monday to a 1-for-3 day with an RBI. Kipnis, who enjoyed a 0.60 BB/K against right-handers in an overall disappointing 2018, should remain in the top six of this order, which needs some life before Francisco Lindor (calf, ankle) returns.

You can also check on the lineup status of one of the platoon-leaning outfielders: Jake Bauers (40.6 percent), Leonys Martin (6.4 percent), the newly recalled Carlos Gonzalez (3.1 percent) or Tyler Naquin (less than 1 percent).

Third base

Brian Anderson (R), 35.3 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Cole Hamels): Anderson isn't a reliable power generator, but his walk rate is up 3 percent (12.9) from last year's figure, and Hamels gave up 27 of his 29 homers to righty bats last year.


Freddy Galvis (B), 23.5 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins (RHP Jake Odorizzi): The hot-starting 29-year-old (five homers, .339/.369/.645 in 17 games) has barreled an excellent 10.8 percent of his batted balls, slotting him among the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Judge and the scorching-hot Joc Pederson in the early going. Lining up against the erratic Odorizzi should keep his run going.

Corner infield

Ryan O'Hearn (L), 3.9 percent, Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito): I'm siding against the masher's overall .190 clip and with his .353 wOBA so far versus righties. Giolito endured a 7.80 ERA at home and a .361 wOBA versus lefty batters in 2018.

Middle infield

Dustin Pedroia (R), 4.5 percent, Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (LHP J.A. Happ): A trip to Yankee Stadium is just the right potion to inject life into Pedroia's return (.105 clip in five games so far). The 35-year-old led off against a righty Monday with Andrew Benintendi (foot) taking a breather, but even if he drops in the order, Happ's recent struggles should allow Pedroia to reach base at least once. Don't forget notorious lefty-bashing 1B Steve Pearce (2.1 percent) if you have to dig deeper.


Shin-Soo Choo (L), 31.6 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Matt Harvey): Despite just one homer in 57 at-bats, Choo continues to offer a top-notch OBP (.439) and present promise against righty hurlers. Harvey's 2.51 HR/9 and 44.0 hard-contact percentage shows that Choo can at least record a couple of knocks in this top-side platoon service.

Josh Reddick (L), 4.5 percent, Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics (RHP Frankie Montas): Reddick hasn't yet left the yard through Monday but is making sound contact (.286 average) in an Astros offense that's starting to click. He should reside on the card in his old home ballpark against a righty, and Montas' iffy dominance (7.41 K/9), homer allowance (2.12 per nine) and overly favorable fortunes (96.8 LOB% so far in 2019) could all lead to a big day for Houston. Fantasy players can't pick up the major pieces of this lineup but can settle for this complementary piece.

Leury Garcia (B), 4.8 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Brad Keller): Since I'm getting sick of recommending Yonder Alonso (8.7 percent) in these spots, let's click on Garcia, who hasn't yet left the yard but has been leading off against righties. Keller's ground-ball style aside, his .326 wOBA versus lefty bats last year was nearly 70 points higher than the opposite handedness.